The constant pressure of social comparisons and curating our own digital reality weighs on us. As we work to build a healthy environment for adolescents to thrive, we must look beyond seeing technology as a cause of anxiety and instead view it as a symptom of the underlying struggle so many of us face today: true connection and meaning.
I have three walking sticks in my office, each with a slightly different meaning, each reminding me of the support needed to navigate different aspects of the life journey. I talk about the life journey and Proctor journey and the challenges that will come at the start of every year. I bring a walking stick to make the point. We like to believe in the myth of “I got this,” that we can do it alone, that we are self contained (or should be), an independent collection of consciousness sailing through time. Totally self reliant. And the truth is that we’re not and we need others on the journey.
As we launch into the year ahead, we will consistently look to our elected school leaders, Vienna Marcus '20 and Hitch Graham '20, for wisdom, guidance, and representation of the student body. The role of School Leader carries with it significant responsibility: attending all faculty meetings, running student government meetings with class representatives, meeting weekly with the Head of School and Assistant Head of School to discuss initiatives and student life goals, as well as serving on the Appeals Committee when a student appeals their dismissal from Proctor. Vienna and Hitch share their thoughts on the year ahead below.
Intuitively, I feel my students’ experiences, reflections, and actions influence who they are and what they do. However, the more I learn about neuroscience, the more research released on brain plasticity and metacognition, the more I realize these intuitions that have guided my work over the past twenty years as a Learning Specialist, and Proctor’s work over the past seventy, are based in scientific fact. Adolescent brain development is a biological process, but it is also a dynamic process that is enhanced through experiences. In other words, what teenagers learn, practice, and think develops neural pathways, which fundamentally restructures their brains over time.
Wilderness Orientation groups finalized packing in the Teddy Maloney ‘88 Rink early Wednesday morning before loading onto busses and departing for their four night, five day adventure in the White Mountains. The busyness of Registration Days had faded into the backdrop, and while the unknown of Orientation weighed on some nearly as much as their packs, a reserved excitement hung in the air.
Comprehending the complexity of the role the advisor plays within Proctor’s educational model can only be understood once a family has experienced the relationship first hand. We recognize this is the cliche` pitch of "You have to see it to believe it!" incoming families don’t want to hear, but we believe deeply the only way you will truly understand the role of the Proctor advisor in your life is to live it yourself. New students are able to login to their myProctor portal today to see who their advisors are for the upcoming year. Each advisor will soon be sharing a welcome letter with their advisees, but in the meantime, here is an open letter to incoming students from an advisor reflecting on his experiences with Proctor students in the past.
Society encourages us to live quickly. We consume media by scrolling, expect wifi everywhere we go, even order groceries online so they can be delivered to our cars in the name of efficiency. We operate under this misguided belief that faster is better, and yet feel an ache for connection that previous generations embraced in their slowness. As Generation Z comes to age in front of our eyes, we must think critically about young people’s ability to connect with each other and how Proctor can nurture in these adolescents a love for learning, for experiencing, for risking failure, for persevering, and for each other.
The forecasted temperature in Andover, New Hampshire tonight is 51 degrees - a far cry from the 93 we hit on Tuesday afternoon. There will be more summer heat to come, but as the calendar turns to August, the start of the school year no longer appears as a blurry destination in the distance, but as a reality toward which we are quickly moving.